As the mobile games market matures, smart phone and tablet players are searching for a deeper, more meaningful experience. During her lecture at Casual Connect, Sarah Thomson, Mobile Content Acquisition, PlayStation Mobile, will discuss how console companies can deliver that experience while leveraging the features of those devices.
At Sony, Thomson Oversees and executes PlayStation Mobile’s content strategy and platform. She started her career in the mobile games space over five and a half years ago in Vancouver, Canada, working for indie mobile games developer IUGO Entertainment, back when “mobile was totally unglamorous, and not the exciting growth space that it is right now,” she said. From there she left for San Francisco and Japanese mobile gaming giant GREE.
“It was obviously a shift from being on one side of the table to the other,” She said. I’ve come to work for a platform where I started reaching out to the indie community that I had been friends with and have been immersed in previously and began to facilitate and get them on board with GREE’s new platform at the time.”
For the past year Thomson’s been doing similar work for Sony, helping the company on-board AAA games from developers like EA Mobile, as well as independent developers with more casual games like Rymdkapsel, though the difference between the two is not as clear as it used to be.
“The lines are blurring between definitions of casual, mid-core and hardcore gaming,” Thomson said. “We’re seeing a lot of gamers that had never previously self-identified as gamers developing daily gaming habits. Mobile games inherently tend to be more casual because they’re smaller in size, scope and experience, but I really think that casual can mean a lot of different things whether that be a lighter, less in-depth game, or easier controls. It’s a very broad term but the idea is that casual gaming makes games a lot more accessible to a broader audience, and mobile really helps break down those barriers.”
Thomson’s background is indicative of Sony’s new-found commitment to smaller, independent games, many of which are a natural fit for the PlayStation Mobile platform. “It is a big focus for us and it’s something that is really carried through to all of our platforms. We’re doing it on console, we’re doing it on Vita and it’s a focus for PlayStation Mobile. We do it because of a genuine passion and belief in that community and the kind of really cool, unique, quirky experiences we’re getting from indies.”
The games on display at Sony’s both at E3 2013, the line-up of independent games the company chose to highlight during its press conference, and the fact that indie games icon Jonathan Blow (Braid) was one of the select few developers who took the stage when Sony unveiled its PlayStation 4, are all evidence that the indie community is equally excited about the opportunities at PlayStation. “We’ve been able to support them, facilitate their success and get their games out there,” she said. “A lot of these developers never developed for PlayStation before, so it’s a pretty new, exciting world for them to enter into. The feedback has been resoundingly positive.”
For PlayStation Mobile, it is an important means by which they can bring meaningful experiences to mobile platforms. To find out more on that subject, attend Thomson’s lecture at Casual Connect, which you read about here.